Make Your Editor Cry: Boldfaced lie vs. Bald-faced lie

Make Your Editor Cry:  Boldfaced lie vs. Bald-faced lie

Either bald-faced or barefaced both with beginning with the letters BA means shameless or showing no guilt.

The adjective barefaced means “beardless,” and one theory is that sometime back in the 16th century this condition was considered brazen in all but the youngest men. Centuries before, Roman soldiers shaved their faces bare and there was a lot of resentment about the former Roman Empire at the time so maybe having a beard was a good thing for that reason. Regardless of etymology, when a person of either sex tells a bald-faced or barefaced lie, that person is openly lying. Think of any political ad you witnessed last November in the US and you’ll get the idea.

Without going too far down this rabbit hole, “boldfaced” (as well as it’s hyphenated form “Bold-faced”) is not a thing unless you are describing a style of font in a type face. This set of two words is portrayed in BOLD FACE and all caps for instance.

The correct phrase is “bald-faced lie” as in bald with an A not bold with an O. An acceptable variant of this idiom is “barefaced lie” as in bare still with an A and still not bold with an O.

Incorrect:

That lone politician could tell a bold-faced lie with a
straight face.

Correct:

Nearly all politicians have the innate ability to tell a
bald-faced lie with a gleam in their eyes.

Nearly all politicians have the innate ability to tell a barefaced lie with a gleam in their eyes.

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